Scott Morrison remains non-committal to attending the conference, unlike most leaders from the world’s most powerful nations.
Young climate activists have today expressed their profound disappointment at the Prime Minister’s reticence to attend, with many calling the PM’s office over the past week to ask him to commit to going.
The Australian Government rejected funding for a youth representative to attend the UN Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY), which takes place on October 28, ahead of COP26 on October 31. This conference is a key date for the world’s young people to have formally recognised input into the negotiation process with an official youth policy paper.
Eva Rodgers, 17, said: “We feel let down by the suggestion that Scott Morrison won’t be attending COP26. Day after day it is made clear to us that our government is not committed to ensuring young people a future safe from the risks of climate change.
“We feel ignored and silenced, whilst world leaders meet at one of the most important climate conferences of all time our Prime Minister is neglecting his responsibilities once again by not addressing the urgency of the climate crisis.
“Young people want a seat at the table. We want to leaders across the world to know that the lack of climate action from the Australian government doesn’t represent what the youth are fighting for. COP26 is less than a month away, if Scott Morrison won’t attend, then we will gladly step in.”
Ella Simons, 15, is Australia’s Youth Delegate for the pre-COP Youth4Climate event, recently hosted by the Government of Italy in Milan.
She added: “To hear Scott Morrison indicating he will not be attending the COP26 event later in the year is extremely disappointing and embarrassing because we need our leaders to be there and we need them to listen, we need them to be called out on their lack of action.”
A new Save the Children report, Born into the Climate Crisis, reveals children in Australia and the Pacific face up to 10 times as many climate disasters in their lifetime than Scott Morrison’s generation, based on current climate pledges made in 2015.
The report authors recommended the Australian Government take ambitious and urgent action now to limit warming to a maximum of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, including by rapidly phasing out the use and subsidy of fossil fuels.
Save the Children urges governments to recognise children as important and equal partners in addressing the climate and environmental crisis, including establishing child-friendly policies and platforms to enable children’s formal engagement in climate policy making.